Senator Menendez Introduces Bill to End Exploitation of Exotic Animals in the Circus

Photo from Flickr by Tim Evanson

Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) applauds the introduction today of the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA) in the U.S. Senate. Sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), this bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the use of exotic animals in traveling shows. It is a companion to H.R. 2863, which was introduced by Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and David Schweikert (R-AZ) in May.

“Last year, Senator Menendez’s state of New Jersey became the first in the nation to outlaw the use of exotic animals in traveling performances. I thank him for extending that compassionate spirit to federal legislation by introducing the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “The circus ring is no place for a wild animal, and the confinement and training methods behind the scenes are simply barbaric. These acts are exploitation, not entertainment, and this bill would put an end to the abuse.”

“Animals are living, breathing, and feeling beings that deserve to grow and thrive in their natural habitat or protected sanctuaries—not to be exploited to perform tricks in someone’s sideshow under cruel conditions,” said Menendez. “The entire nation should follow New Jersey’s lead by doing what’s humane, just and right for these wild creatures.”

To date, six states and more than 135 municipalities have passed legislation to address the cruel treatment of circus animals or to ban exotic animal acts entirely, and many other localities are considering similar measures. TEAPSPA would unify this patchwork of laws and bring clarity to the types of performances that are allowed to take place nationwide.

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Media Contact

Margie Fishman, (202) 446-2128, margie@awionline.org

Photo from Flickr by Tim Evanson